Swale’s spin on Green Field development

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23 Jan 2011
Yet again rather than presenting a balanced and unbiased set of facts and figures from which the public may formalise an opinion, Swale Borough Council are deliberately seeking to misrepresent the facts.

For those of you that have taken an interest in the Core Strategy consultation , it will no doubt not have gone unnoticed that out of the four options presented, Option 3 in particular achieves an almost unbelievable switch from greenfield to brownfield development based on exactly the same amount of housing development.

Yes a staggering 53% drop from Options 1 and 2 to just 19% of housing on to be built on Greenfield sites. Sounds pretty good doesn’t it?

But look a little closer and you’ll notice the following words “excl. committed development”. This actually means that the 19% applies not to the whole 13,500 houses illustrated, but only to a percentage of them, in fact just 4,500.

Now it is fairly difficult for you and I to calculate the actual percentages of green field development for the four options as insufficient information is supplied even if you wade through the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment and associated supporting documents.

However by piecing together information on the other sites which represent the 9,000 house difference the real percentage of green field development might look something like.

Option 1 – 77% green field
Option 2 – 77% green field
Option 3 – 59% green field
Option 4 – 72% green field

I’m not so sure that a reduction 18% is quite as persuasive as the 53% as peddled in the public consultation documentation.

However there is one other rather important fact that you should be aware of the reduction in greenfield development is entirely dependent on the land reclamation project off of Sheppey which has no supporting evidence base for you to consider at this time. It is entirely possible that the entire project is not viable, but you won’t know until after you have selected it. It’s also nice to know that the sea constitutes brownfield development, a fact that sure to alienate environmental groups up and down the country.

At best this is highly misleading and at worst a disinformation campaign to deliberately attempt to engineer the outcome of the consultation.